Your Oral Health

About Periodontal Disease

Most people have a good knowledge of tooth decay. We know that to prevent decay, it is important to brush our teeth and watch the sweets in our diets. However, many individuals are surprised to find out that more teeth are lost to periodontal disease than tooth decay. While public awareness of gum disease is increasing, general knowledge of the most serious periodontal disease, periodontitis, is limited. For the advertisements about the importance of preventing gingivitis, it is significant that the chief cause of tooth loss in adults is periodontitis, not gingivitis. 

Gum disease, often termed the “silent disease,” is one of the most common dental problems seen in adults today. Statistics show that 3 out of 4 Americans are suffering from some degree of periodontal disease. In most cases, they are not aware that they have this gum condition until they visit with Dr. Yurovsky. Periodontal disease is a potentially serious gum condition in which serious pain and inflammation are inflicted onto the oral tissue and bone. In more severe cases, tooth loss can occur; this makes routine dental care an important preventative measure for keeping healthy teeth and gums, allowing Dr. Yurovsky to spot potential health concerns in the early stages of development.

Aside from oral health damage that periodontal disease inflicts onto the oral cavity - gum recession and tooth loss - there are other serious medical problems that are associated with the contraction of this disease. Research has shown that the same bacterium present in this gum condition can potentially make its way into the bloodstream and journey to other parts of the body. This bacteria has been connected to health conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to diabetes. As ongoing research defines how periodontal disease is associated with these and other health problems, oral health maintenance remains essential. Periodontal health is a key component of a healthy body.

What Is an "Ongoing Infection?"

Stages of Periodontal Disease

Have you ever had a sliver of wood caught under the skin of your hand? Since the wound is open to bacteria, the site may become infected and therefore red and inflamed. However, in time, your immune system fights off the bacteria, and your hand heals.

During an Ongoing Infection, however, your immune system cannot conquer the bacteria on its own, so the pain and redness continue to worsen.

Periodontal disease is an ongoing infection afflicting the pockets which surround your teeth. You cannot fight off this infection alone, but with periodontal therapy, we can remove debris and bacteria from the site, allowing the gum to heal as your hand had.

What Can Cause a "Burst" of Infection Activity?

Healthy Gums vs Periodontal DiseasePeople with periodontal disease have a low resistance to periodontal bacteria. This results in an ongoing gum infection that grows in "bursts" of activity. Each time it grows, more and more support for your teeth is lost. Some factors which may result in a "burst" of activity include:

  1. Poor oral hygiene
  2. Dental plaque
  3. Smoking
  4. Stress or tension
  5. Genetic factors
  6. Age
  7. Diet
  8. Illness

Getting Periodontal Infection Treated Right Away

When your infection has a burst of activity or signs that this is about to occur, your general dentist may recommend that you see a Periodontist.

Symptoms of Periodontal Infection

Periodontal infection is Usually Painless until it reaches an advanced stage. However, there are some symptoms that may indicate the presence of periodontal infection.

These include:

  1. Red or swollen gums
  2. Bleeding when brushing (pink toothbrush), or at other times
  3. Aching, itchy, sore, or tender gums
  4. Receding gums (teeth beginning to look longer)
  5. Pus between your teeth and gums when you press down on the gums
  6. Bad breath
  7. Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  8. Any change in the fit of partial dentures
  9. Loose, separating, or protruding teeth
  10. Spaces between teeth

If you notice any of the above warning signs of periodontal infection, please contact your general dentist and ask for a periodontal evaluation.

Important Note: Your gums can look and feel quite normal, and yet deep pockets of periodontal infection may nevertheless be present. In order to be certain about any periodontal disease, ask your dentist or periodontist to examine your gums for signs of infection.